Design-build (DB) is a generic form of construction procurement, and, rather than simply representing a single system, it has evolved in practice into a variety of forms, each of which is similar to, and yet different from each other. Although the importance of selecting an appropriate DB variant has been widely accepted, difficulties occur in practice due to the multiplicity of terms and concepts used. What is needed is some kind of taxonomy or framework within which the individual variants can be placed and their relative attributes identified and understood. Through a comprehensive literature review and content analysis, this paper establishes a systematic classification framework for DB variants based on their operational attributes. In addition to providing much needed support for decision-making, this classification framework provides client/owners with perspectives to understand and examine different categories of DB variants from an operational perspective.